Category Archives: Secretary's Notes

Any extra bits the secretary wishes to say


Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. opened the second Open Meeting of the season and welcomed the lady guests in attendance. He advised that nine apologies had been received.

Under ” Initial Notices” the Chairman confirmed Ray Snowden’s funeral arrangements which would be on Thursday February 1st at 11.15 a.m. in the Wesley Chapel followed by a private cremation.

Today, as well as an Open Meeting, was President’s Morning and the Reverend Christine Gillespie was given a warm welcome.

Reverend Christine’s talk focussed on a short visit she had made to Sierra Leone in 2011 in an official representative capacity to celebrate the bicentenary anniversary of the Methodist Church involvement in that country. The Methodist Church in Sierra Leone had its roots in groups of freed slaves who arrived from 1792 from England and Nova Scotia (1,190) and indeed the capital of Sierra Leone is Freetown. The group started to organise into a church but had to appeal for help from Britain. This resulted in the sending of the first Wesleyan missionary in 1811, the Reverend George Warren with three others, and it was this event and their support that were being celebrated.

Although only in the country a short time the Reverend Christine gave us a flavour of the country and in particular the capital Freetown, it being a poor country, hot and humid with a need to drink plenty of liquid and with water being sold in plastic bags!! The Sierra Leone civil war was mentioned and related to her visit to the Freetown Peace Museum. The University was also visited and this was the site of the last battle in the civil war which was interestingly ended by a certain Tony Blair sending in troops and he is a highly regarded person in this country. Limited sightseeing opportunities were afforded but visits along the coast were made and the sight of young children at work breaking rocks on a mountainside gave pause for thought.

The Reverend Christine shared these highlights of her trip:

— a conversation with the night-watchman at the Maroon Church.

— the official celebration dinner for the bicentenary and observing an american auction.

— leading communion and the outstanding singing of the church choir and congregation.

The talk concluded with a number of questions and answers.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Frank Ellis on behalf of the thirty-five member attendees and the six lady guests.




RAY SNOWDEN…Funeral Arrangements

I can now advise you that Ray’s funeral will be held at Wesley Chapel on Thursday February 1st at 1115 a.m.

Malcolm Wood will attend as one of the chief mourners and John Taylor will also attend on behalf of the Forum.

Members who knew Ray personally may wish to make their own arrangements to attend.




It is with sadness that I have to advise of the passing of Ray Snowden.

Ray has died in Bilton Hall Nursing Home after a year of declining health. With Malcolm Wood he was a regular worshipper at Wesley Chapel and he joined the Forum in October 2010 at the beginning of Malcolm’s year as Chairman. Most Tuesdays after the meeting Malcolm and Ray would join their wives for lunch usually in a village pub.

It was Ray who suggested that our collection at the Christmas lunch in 2016 should be shared between the Hospice and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, enduring good causes which he strongly supported. Sadly Ray was too ill to attend this season to hear the talk about changes in the Y.A.A. from Mike Bevington.

The Forum sends its condolences to his wife Mavis, who herself has been in poor health over recent months. Malcolm and his wife Anita have been very loyal in their support of the family.

Funeral details will be posted here when known or advised.




Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson opened the meeting with the four apologies that had been offered. This week’s “Bon Mot” was about the close proximity of six male jurors and six female jurors in a confined jury room for some hours and “Not Guilty” being reported–unusual in this day and age!!

Today’s Speaker was Mr Ivan Gibson from Knaresborough Men’s Forum and by profession a Consultant Pathologist. His discourse would be titled “Lockerbie: Medical- legal Evidence”.

The talk focussed on the Pan Am 103 flight that was blown up over Lockerbie on December 21st 1988 at around 7 p.m. resulting in the loss of 270 lives (259 passengers and crew; 11 ground casualties). The wreckage was spread over 845 square miles as far as the North Sea and registered at 1.6 on the Richter Scale with a massive ground crater. Many Americans were on the flight but overall twenty nationalities were involved. Ivan, who was Consultant Pathologist at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary at the time, was asked to assist in the investigation of the crash by Procurator Fiscal James McDougall. This involved complex problems and recording of the sites/state of the bodies involved in the investigation and getting all the equipment needed. The Town Hall, School and Ice Rink (refrigeration purposes) were used in Lockerbie as bases for storage and examinations and the process also involved external liaison with other bodies e.g medical; police, military etc.

Supported by a slide show Ivan explained some of the procedures and pain staking processes that were followed such as the means of identifying victims including the use of medical and dental records and identifying marks e.g. tatoos.

He touched on the personal impact of the investigation and although resilient himself how it affected his sleep patterns. A number of questions were responded to at the talk’s conclusion.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of the forty attendees was given by Mike Tutt.




The first meeting of 2018 was opened by Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson at 1030 a.m., wishing everyone a Happy New Year and with six apologies having been offered. He paid tribute to the organisational skills of Programme Secretary John Taylor and his wife Margaret in arranging the splendid Christmas Lunch at the Ascot House Hotel in December which also raised £280 for two charities. A very nice acknowledgement from the Girl Guides Association in connection with their donation to the extensive refurbishment programme at Birk Crag had been received. The Chairman’s first well received anecdote of the New Year related to a recidivist miscreant in the dock at the Old Bailey receiving a legal aid provided “Rolls Royce” service from his defending and distinguished Q.C. with the Judge pointing out, if found guilty, he was likely to be served a “Rolls Royce” sentence!!

Programme Secretary John Taylor took to the floor briefly to update members on the following:

–Under “Calendar of Meetings” on March 20th Terry Byrne’s Talk should be entitled “South African Journey”.

–Mrs Phyllis Coggan, widow of Ray Coggan,(former Secretary) had sent a letter thanking the Forum for remembering her husband but also offering the Programme Secretary some constructive criticism on his choice of Speaker at a previous Open Meeting!!

–Sadly John had to offer short tributes to a member, Robert Bradwell, who died last month and also a former member and his long time next door neighbour , Harold Dawson, who had also passed on.

Today’s Speaker saw the return of Mr Roger Oldfield, former Programme Secretary at Harrogate Men’s Forum, with his talk topic “From Sea to Shining Sea”. He advised that his title had been appropriated from the lyrics of the song “America the Beautiful” although his speech would traverse from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, a Walk Across England or more specifically the “Coast to Coast Long Distance Walk” originated by Alfred Wainwright. At the age of 23 Wainwright went on a walking holiday in the Lake District, fell in love with the area, and spent the rest of his life devoted to walking, writing and illustrating his beloved Lakeland Fells.

The Coast to Coast Walk covers 193 winding miles across three National Parks starting at St. Bee’s on the west coast and finishing at Robin Hood’s Bay on the east side. Along the way we were taken to numerous places including Ennerdale Bridge, Grasmere, Patterdale, Reeth, Richmond Glaisdale and Grosmont amongst others. The three National Parks taken in were the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors. We learnt about some of the history of the places passed on the route; heard about Cumberland Pencils in Keswick; William Wordsworth’s attachment to Grasmere and the Grasmere Gingerbread made to a secret recipe and still sold there. Notable architectural features were pointed out on Castle’s, Church’s, and Abbey’s as well as landmarks and geographical features in the various dales and fields along the walk. The highly interesting and informative presentation was supported by extensive slides illustrating the route covered and was appreciated by an interested and attentive audience with questions raised at the talk’s conclusion.

The Vote Of Thanks was given by Keith Wadd on behalf of the forty attendees.




It is with regret that I have to advise you of the death of Robert (Bob) Bradwell. Whilst not having attended Forum for some time, and irregularly at best, it was only last week that I heard from his son that Robert was seriously ill.

A Requiem Mass will be held at St Robert’s Church, Robert Street, Harrogate on Friday January 5th 2018 at 12 noon.




The first half of the 2017/2018 season concluded with the now traditional Christmas Lunch organised by Programme Secretary John Taylor and his wife Margaret and hosted by Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. Sixty eight members and guests enjoyed a splendidly prepared and served meal in lovely surroundings courtesy of the Ascot House Hotel. After Lunch  interest was provided by anecdotes from both the Chairman and long-standing Member Malcolm Wood.

The normal charitable collection was taken following lunch and a fantastic amount of £280 raised which will be divided between The Girl Guides Appeal to renovate their facilities at Birk Crag and Harlow Hill Methodist Church to assist in providing blinds.

Following such a connvivial event all members and guests moved forward towards the forthcoming Christmas Festivities in good heart.




The meeting opened at 1030 a.m. prompt with Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. advising of seven apologies. His opening anecdote this week concerned a primary school teacher, a sleepy girl pupil and an exchange of views on paying attention!!

John Taylor Programme Secretary outlined next weeks Christmas Lunch arrangements and he confirmed that the normal charitable collection would be split between the Birk Crag Girl Guides Hut Rebuilding Fund and also Harlow Hill Methodist Church Funds which might indirectly benefit our Forum as a user group.

Todays Speaker was Miss Sue Wood, Horticultural Officer, with Harrogate Borough Council who visited last season and has now returned with her talk entitled “Behind the Scenes at the Tour De France”.

A promotional video (2/mins.) headed “Welcome to Yorkshire” started proceedings and illustrated the outstanding and varied scenery in Gods Own Country! Sue then took us back to the Tour De France in 2014 to describe the amount of planning, work and effort that was necessary to deliver such a successful outcome. Harrogate was fortunate to host the opening stage and have an involvement in the second stage with it being the fourth time this event had started in this country (1974; 1994; 2007). This 101st Tour involved the closure of 300 miles of roads and the logistics of delivering to a 3.5 billion T.V. audience in 188 countries. Harrogate Borough Council planning and work actually commenced in 2012/2013 and would involve event specific creations which included flower beds, elm tree sculpture on Montpelier Hill, masses of bunting, other sculptures and various displays across the whole District e.g. Knaresborough; Ripon.

2014 was also the centenary of World War One and the 100th anniversary of the Brownies which was also reflected in floral displays in various locations. We heard about the number of bicycles refurbished and repainted then erected and displayed; Knaresborough Schoolchildren “designed” Tee Shirts displayed on bunting in their town; a stained glass window feature on Montpelier Hill; entries at the Chelsea Flower Show and Harrogate Spring Flower Show with the “Welcome to Yorkshire Garden”; a Cairn in Masham and many other sculptures/ designs located around Harrogate and surrounding areas to publicise this major sporting occasion. One of the more impressive campaigns was the Knitted Jumpers initiative targeted at 3,00 but resulting in over 23,500 and hung on bunting and placed in displays in many locations. Refurbished ,freshly painted bicycles could be seen in shops, museums, on grass verges and in allotments to mention just some of the places.

In the build up to the big day(s) pothole repairs were effected on race roads, street cleaning received focussed attention and the immense and considerable logistical exercise for the race itself swung into operation…for example spectator areas on the stray; V.I.P. stands and marques erected all needing equipment and an allocated work force. There were also 8,000 stewards in addition to the police numbers to attend to the massive crowds that descended on the centre of Harrogate. Before, during and after the race the collection of rubbish needed to be addressed and the re-opening of roads once the race had passed through.

What was clearly evident was that the planning and efforts of Harrogate Borough Council and others reaped great dividends in the hosting of a superbly organised and successful event of which they could be rightly proud. This success has been recognised and reflected since by involvement in the Tour De Yorkshire and the awarding of the 2019 U.C.I. Road World Cycling Championships which will see Harrogate act as the main competition town and finish location.

After taking questions from an enthused assembly the morning concluded with Roy Smith giving a Vote of Thanks on behalf of the forty-two attendees.




Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. and advised of five apologies. He welcomed Richard Cobbald, a guest of last week, who has now joined as a member. Today’s warm up anecdote concerned a dinner, stuffed shirt guests, a five-year old boy’s twist on the act of saying grace causing adult red faces and which received a mirthful response from the audience.

Under “Initial Notices” the Chairman advised that at last weeks meeting £153–40 was raised from the Forum and its individual members for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, a splendid effort, and warmly acknowledged by Mike Bevington (Speaker) and in writing by the organisation.

Making a regular and welcome return to today’s Forum was the popular Professor Martin Curzon with his chosen subject of “Teeth, Trees and Totem Poles” or more accurately “The Tribulations of a Backwoods Dentist”.

In 1965 the Professor and his newly acquired wife (also a dentist!!) took a professional placement to British Columbia to bring dental services to around eleven Indian tribes situated in some really remote areas. Outreach Services had begun its operations in 1948 to bring dental services to outlying areas and by 1960 faced in this geographically immense District around two million people requiring dentistry and medical services. We were told about the core programme aimed at 3–9 year olds funded by the Government with clinics run from 830 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day with other patients being charged and seen between 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. Whilst the main and large dental equipment was provided by the British Columbian government each individual practitioner was responsible for their own supplies and instruments.The difficulties and extent of travel to about twenty-five communities was highlighted including the use of Float Planes; the vagaries of the climate noted  and the prevalence of very bad teeth in the populace requiring all aspects of dentistry. Payments were made solely in cash and promptly resulting in vastly depleted local economies much to the chagrin of the local storekeepers. Professor Curzon advised us of the make up of the indigenous (Amerindian) Indian Tribes such as the Coast Salish and Haida all with different languages and all with variances on the types of craft works produced which included Totem Poles, Baskets and Blankets. A number of items were circulated by the Speaker during the meeting which reinforced his comments on the workmanship and fast escalating values of recent years. The heraldic influence on Totem Poles was explained with some of the ancient native tales relating to such as the Raven and Bear Mother  narrated. The type of tree wood used for carving and the inclusion of teeth in many of the carvings was also noted. The impact of modern-day Indian Artists such as Bill Reid (1920/1998) was illustrated.

Many of the clinics operated were based in logging camps and a variety of children’s health problems were evident and not just dental e.g. abscesses, head lice and impetigo. Professor Curzon concluded by stating his time spent in British Columbia had led to his career long involvement in children’s dentistry and he fielded a number of questions and comments from members who had obviously appreciated and comprehended the scope of the subjects covered.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 44 attendees was given by Vincent Naylor.




Chairman His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. opened the meeting at 1030a.m. advising of five apologies. He also warmly welcomed a new member Allan Anderson and an attending guest Richard Cobbald. His well received icebreaker for this morning paid reference to the recently appointed Bishop of Ripon with a non related anecdote about two bishops and aspects of their secular life!!

Under “Initial Notices” a reminder of the Church Christmas Fayre on Saturday November 25th at 10a.m. was given and John Taylor advised that the Christmas Lunch on December 12th was now fully subscribed.

A welcome and regular returning Speaker for today was Mike Bevington who would give us a “Yorkshire Air Ambulance Update”. He reminded members that Yorkshire Air Ambulance, motto “Saving Lives across Yorkshire”, was divided into four geographical quarters, North, South, East and West with each having a Regional Fund Raising Manager and an Assistant Community Fund Raising Manager supported by establishing a team of Volunteers.

Formed in 2000 as an independent charity Yorkshire Air Ambulance serves some 5 million people and attended 1543 incidents last year with 322 in North Yorkshire alone. 2013 saw the Y.A.A. move to a new flagship airbase at the Nostell Estate where one helicopter is located and Topcliffe also provides a base for a second helicopter and there is a Head Office to be found in Elland. In 2016 two new Airbus H145 helicopters became operational at a cost of £12 million. These new vehicles had the benefits of reduced running costs, longer flying hours and night-time operations; also they had bigger internal space and were fitted out with state of the art medical equipment including a specialist stretcher. The crew of each helicopter includes a pilot, two paramedics and up to two passengers if required with recent developments seeing the addition of a Doctor. The Y.A.A. service covers 4 million acres in Yorkshire and operates within 20 minutes flying time of a major trauma centre. It is in service 365 days a year from 6a.m. to 12p.m. (18 hours) There is a dedicated Air Desk at Nostell Air Base which is advised of all Yorkshire ambulance incidents and determines priorities which could include road accidents, pedestrian incidents, motor cycle and cycle crashes , sport and leisure mishaps and episodes relating to Industry or Farming etc.

The increasing costs of the service are currently £12K a day reflecting medical advances and technical developments, increasing activity and longer operational hours. Mike touched upon the cross regional support that may happen with other Air Ambulance Charities and other medical rescue liaisons.

He finished by reminding the audience that no funding support is made by Central or Local Government  and the charity is dependant on support from individuals and groups and pointed us in the direction of the Y.A.A. website which details the role of volunteers in fund-raising, recycling through their textile banks and the importance of Gift Aid with donations.

An interested and appreciative audience asked questions during and after the talk and individual donations were gratefully made and received  at the end of the meeting. A total of £113-40 was given by individuals and £40 from Forum funds gave a total donation to the Service of £153-40

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 45 attendees was given by John Corby.